Osada Owzicze was located on the Royal Canal in the neighbourhood of Bielin settlement. [Ed. note: Now called the Dnepr-Bug Canal, it links the Black Sea with the Baltic. The first section was built in 1775 - 1784 by King Stanisław August Poniatowski.] The settlement was not large. It was created following the division of the Eliza Orzeszkowa estate [Ed. note: Eliza Orzeszkowa, 1841 – 1910, was a Polish novelist]. My father was there only for only a short time since he was a bachelor and, since the war, had no wish to take up farming on the land. First of all he wanted to start a family. That is why we did not arrive at the settlement until 1934. It consisted of six settlers, of whom two did not work the land: Colonel Bołtuć (later General), the second, Kowalski worked at the “Kurier Warszawski” [Ed. note: Warsaw Courier was a daily newspaper printed in Warsaw, from 1821 to 1939.] Someone else worked their plots for them. They came there to spend the summer holidays and in winter for the hunting, Polesie had an enticing charm. I also spent my school summer holidays in these parts - on the Royal Canal kayaking and fishing.
The soil in the area was not fertile. Anyway, agriculture was not very rewarding. The surrounding villages consisted of poor smallholders, Belorussian peasants. My father gave them employment during the harvests, and in spring repaid them with crops of which they were short due to having insufficient land to keep themselves. Nevertheless, settlers also tasted poverty because they were not sufficiently knowledgeable in getting the best from their plots. Not all of the settlers were “people of the land”.
I finished four years of primary schooling living in the settlement and then had to leave my home for the nearest District town of Drohiczyn to continue my education. Whilst there, the war ended my carefree school life. On 10 February 1940 I was taken to deepest Russia - the Arkhangelsk region.
Translation from the book
Z Kresów Wschodnich R.P. Wspomnienia z Osad Wojskowych 1921-1940
(From: The Eastern Borderlands of Poland, Memories of Military Settlements 1921-1940)
Pub: Ognisko Rodzin Osadników Kresowych (OROK)
(Association of the Families of the Borderland Settlers)
London, UK. 1992 and 1998 (out of print)
ISBN 1 872286 33 X
Province (Województwo) WOŁYŃ
Municipality (Gmina) Osowce
District (Powiat) Drohiczyń
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